But apparently there's just this consensus out there in the land of cinephiles that the Special Edition, or director's cut, is worse than the theatrical version. This is just how people in the know feel. I'm still shocked, and I stumbled upon this information days ago. Fucking baffling. So just for my own well-being, here is a list of deleted or extended scenes that improve upon the original.
- We find out that Ripley has a daughter, who died at the age of 66 (Ripley had promised to be home for her 11th birthday). For one thing, this creates a past personal life for Ripley that we otherwise wouldn't know about. She's no longer just a person - she's a person who became untethered from her family, a person who had people waiting for her. She's a grieving mother. It also creates a better explanation for her maternal devotion to Newt other than "oh, she's a woman, and they're all basically moms, right?" Her determination to protect and rescue the little girl is a determination to not lose another daughter.
|By any badass means necessary.|
- Ripley loses her flight officer status. Carter "Slimeball" Burke alludes to the fact that she can't get a better job than one on the loading dock, but I had assumed it was due to her reputation as an unstable headcase. It turns out that Ripley was officially displaced by her employers, which bolsters Weyland-Yutani Corp's cold, bureaucratically evil persona.
- We see Newt's dad get facehugged. This is the inserted scene that gets the most complaints, usually saying that it ruins the suspense re: whether the aliens have attacked the colony. I'm sorry...the movie is called Aliens. This isn't like the letter-writing scene of Vertigo, which does ruin what could have been a legitimately bonkers twist that would've forced the audience to reconsider everything. This is not the same at all. That Ripley is right and the aliens are going to fuck some shit up is basically a foregone conclusion.
- Hudson is the ultimate badass. This might out me as a sadist, but I love watching Hudson go from a puffed-up braggart to a pants-wetting coward (and then, finally, to an ultimate badass).
- Hudson is also the smartest. He catches on to the ant-like hierarchy that the aliens follow, and posits that there might be a queen alien giving birth to the monsters they've had to face. I'd say this supposition contributes to more suspense, since we start to think that maybe there is worse, alien-wise, than we've already seen.
|Worse as in, some sort of horrible ant-scorpion-birthing sac hybrid that can use an elevator.|
- "Dwayne. It's Dwayne." "Ellen." "Don't be long, Ellen." I love the Hicks-Ripley relationship so much I can't even stand it. I apologize for nothing. And them revealing their first names to each other, just before Ripley heads off to rescue Newt/raise hell/deliver famous lines, is basically their version of "I love you." "I love you too."